Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Reformation Day!

On what we know as “All Hallow’s Eve, October 31, 1517 Martin Luther wrote a letter
of protest to Albert of Mainz. Cardinal Albert of Brandenburg was Elector and Archbishop of Mainz from 1514 to 1545, and Archbishop of Magdeburg from 1513 to 1545. Luther wrote to protest the sale of indulgences. Enclosed in this letter was a copy of what he called, “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” which we know as “The Ninety-Five Theses.

Luther’s chief complaint was an objection to a jingle that was attributed to Johann Tetzel which said, “As soon as the coin in the coffers rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” Luther believed that forgiveness belonged to God alone and that no one could offer forgiveness especially and even when coupled with the payment. Luther maintained that those who preached that indulgences would absolve the buyer from any and all punishment, and provided salvation were in error. Luther proclaimed that Christians should not cease following Christ for forgiveness on the basis of these “false promises.”

It was on the day before “All Saints Day, October 31 that Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. He also sent a hand-written copy to Cardinal Albert who he believed was responsible for the sale of indulgences in Germany.

Two months later, in January of 1518 Luther’s ninety-five thesis was translated by a Christoph von Scheurl from Latin into German. Some think that when Luther’s ninety-five thesis was translated and printed it became the first “controversy” in history promulgated by the printing press.

The Protestant Reformation was born on this day by this act. The Reformation began the religious, political, intellectual, and cultural fractures in Catholic Europe. The Reformation was used of God to use men like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and even Henry VIII to challenge papal authority.

 The Reformation questioned the “right” of the Catholic Church to define Christian practices. The greatest tenant of the Reformation was the clarion call for bibles to be translated into the native tongues of God’s people who then could interpret the Word of God for themselves.


KC Bob said...

Reminds me of reading "Here I Stand" in my church history class in bible college. Luther was an amazing guy.

Gregg Metcalf said...

KC BOB - He sure was! Thank God.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful post and read Gregg.

All behind with my comments....sorry.


Pat Donovan said...

Gotta love Luther

Susan said...

Starting this year I'm saying "happy Reformation Day"... I realized this occurred on October 31 a few months ago watching a street preacher on youtube...the last few years I would say "Happy All Saints Day" but that lands on November 1. Great post!